In last weeks issue, eWeek Labs analysts and managers each took a crack at 2001s defining moments. Now Ill do the same, hopefully with the same originality, insight and aplomb as our esteemed Labs personnel. Here goes.
Years biggest tech story: It has to be the Enron collapse and the yet-to-be-told story of how its aggressive broadband and technology strategy helped sink the company. Youve got to feel for those employees with 401(k) plans invested exclusively in Enron shares that they werent allowed to trade as the price plummeted from $22 to half a buck last fall. Some folks should go to jail for that.
Slipping off the radar: New research from Meridien Research concludes CRM spending will remain flat at $6.7 billion until 2004 as customers drive superhard bargains. Lets pray that it isnt so because CRM has been one of high techs few consistent bright spots.
Most useful: I have to agree with Tim Dyck and Jason Brooks that Windows XPs Remote Desktop is very compelling. Evidence already suggests the capability allows companies to cut back on help desk and support personnel. Of course, this assumes the capability doesnt provide another trapdoor for hackers.
Biggest disappointment: My colleagues mentioned Microsoft Outlook and IIS for their Swiss cheese security model. And now XP has been tinged with a security breach. But disappointment suggests something we expected more from, and Ive never had any illusions about Microsoft security. My vote goes to the Linux community for failing to produce a popular desktop version. Isnt it about time?
Most impressive: Like IBM says, its X Series ThinkPads are "extra-light, extra-small and ultraportable." X Series systems are smartly designed with basic but useful innovations such as the keyboard light and simple volume controls. I try other notebooks and always come back to ThinkPads.
What to watch in 2002: Any uptick in otherwise flat or declining IT spending would be a welcome sign that the tech sector might emerge from its 18-month slumber. Look for $300 desktops as the category gets subsumed by notebook computers, which in turn could be threatened by Palms, Pocket PCs and those cool organizer/cell phones from the likes of Kyocera, Ericsson and Samsung. In the server and storage spaces, look out, IBM, Compaq and HP. Dell Direct will be coming hard at you this year. And will someone please do a viable Linux desktop? IBM, maybe?
Level of prescience in 2001: If I could remember back that far, Id have to recall all the bloopers, misfires and surprises.
Go down the list and give me your picks. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.